POLICE say sexual predators will use other people’s fame and notoriety to groom their victims.
Warrnambool police are investigating an incident where a south-west girl was approached on Facebook by a person claiming to be one of the performers at the recent Fun4Kids Festival.
Sergeant Chris Asenjo from the Warrnambool sexual offences and child abuse investigation team said the person had asked for naked pictures of the girl.
“This person has used that (Fun4Kids) as common ground, or a way in, and has then asked for photos of the girl,” he said.
“People will use other people’s fame and notoriety for their own advancement.”
Sergeant Asenjo was part of the police investigation in Melbourne which led to a 16-year jail sentence for a band manager who groomed 55 teenage girls online and sexually assaulted them.
John Raymond Zimmerman began his offending in 2006 when he was aged 21 and became the tour manager for Australian band, The Getaway Plan.
Zimmerman used a MySpace account which promoted the band to establish contact with his victims and later used that account, his personal account and a fake account to demand to meet up with teenage girls for sex.
Zimmerman encouraged one victim, who was 14 years old, to email him pictures of herself in her underwear.
After they agreed to meet, Zimmerman picked the girl up from school and sexually assaulted her in the back of his van.
He later pressured her to meet with him again, by threatening that he would reveal what she had previously done with him.
“These people aren’t who they say they are,” Sergeant Asenjo said.
He said that in terms of the Fun4Kids celebrity approach, that if it seemed too good to be true, it was.
“Most celebrities on Facebook or Twitter would have someone manage their accounts,” he said.
“You’ll find the conversations are fairly generic.
“If someone wants an image of yourself, be very, very wary. If it’s a real relationship, they won’t ask for a photo.
“My advice is think very hard before you post.
“The average 14-year-old girl will have 1000 friends on Facebook and I can guarantee she doesn’t know 1000 people, let alone have 1000 friends.
“Some of those friends would not be who they say they are.” WITH THE AGE